Bird brigade: Improving a pond and community


March 23, 2010 at midnight
Updated March 26, 2010 at 10:27 p.m.

The Duck Pond at Riverside Park received a small facelift from the students of Crain Middle School.

The Duck Pond at Riverside Park received a small facelift from the students of Crain Middle School.

Birds will enjoy a nicer quality of life now that work was done to the Duck Pond at Riverside Park.

The Comet Duck Brigade Project, made up of Crain Middle School students, has raised money since September to beautify and clean the pond.

"We tried to beautify the area by adding plants to make it more attractive," said Annabelle De La Torre, 12. "We also added birdhouses to attract birds."

So far, about $2,600 was raised by the students. Other plans include adding park benches, picnic tables, flowers, shrubbery, stepping stones and birdhouses.

"There was trash throughout the area," said Holly McCutcheon, the brigade's teacher. "There was a bunch of debris on the back fence between the golf course and duck pond, so there was more litter in the duck pond area."

The brigade is also part of the Community Problem Solvers organization, which seeks to improve life in various ways in the community. The idea of starting the program at the school came from Wanda McNeeley, who currently leads the program and organizes projects for the students.

The brigade advanced to state in the Community Problem Solvers Program through their project. They prepared a six-page addendum of their project - which included the fundraising, a presentation in front of the City Parks and Recreation meeting, work at the pond and their purchases.

They also recently completed a scrapbook full of pictures of the work done at the pond. Work lasted about three months.

A state evaluator placed the brigade's project among the top, and advanced them to state in April.

McCutcheon said she was excited to learn her students would go to state, especially because this is the first year the school had a Community Problem Solvers team.

"It's neat that the kids are getting down in the dirt, getting things done and making a difference," she said.

Still left in the project is to add more grass and a "Welcome to the Victoria Duck Pond" sign in front of the pond.

The brigade will work on the project until the end of the school year, and devise a new project for 2010-11 school year, McCutcheon said.

"They take pride whenever they're at the duck pond in knowing they're making a difference," the teacher said.



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